New England Academy is staffed by a close-knit team of experienced educational and clinical professionals who share a commitment to helping students fulfill their potential. All staff members are certified by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and have a background in working with students with social and emotional disabilities.
Ryan Plosker, M.S., CAGS, Ed.D Executive Director and Founder
Ryan is the Executive Director and founder of New England Academy. Throughout his career, Dr. Plosker has worked to bridge the gap between psychology and education to meet the needs of students—from his clinical work at Children’s Hospital in Boston to his later work as a public school psychologist, school director, and special education administrator. Dr. Plosker shares his educational and clinical insights, teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate level. He has a B.S. in Psychology, a Masters and CAGS in School Psychology and completed his Ph.D. coursework from Northeastern University before completing his doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Massachusetts.
Courtni Laracy, M.Ed. Director of Guidance
Courtni has been teaching in the field of special education for over 12 years. She has her certification in special education K-12. Prior to entering into administration, Courtni was an English teacher with a focus on fostering a love of literature and writing and helping students become independent learners. Courtni leads the NEA students through the entire college process beginning with College Planning, assisting with the essay writing and application process and ending with students’ transition to college.
Peggy Buscema, MSW, LICSW Dean of Admissions
Peggy has over twenty years of experience in the field of Social Work and has worked in a variety of settings. Beginning her career as a clinician at McLean-Franciscan Children’s Hospital, she moved into the field of education as Clinical Director and Program Director of Essex Academy. She is a licensed School Adjustment Counselor and Supervisor as well as a Massachusetts Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. Peggy received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Villanova and a Master’s in Social Work from Simmons College.
Brian Jukins, MSW, LICSW, Ed.S Dean of Students
Brian began his career as a counselor at Children’s Hospital in Boston. Afterwards, he worked for six years as a school social worker prior to joining the New England Academy team at the school’s inception. Brian has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Merrimack College, a Master’s degree in Social Work from Salem State University and an Education Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Gordon College. He has also completed post-graduate coursework in Adolescent Treatment through Boston University. Brian is a licensed Principal, School Adjustment Counselor, Director, and Special Education Administrator, as well as a Massachusetts Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker.
Patti Bernheart, M.Ed., CAGS Dean of Educational Programming
Patti has a B.A. in Psychology and a Masters and CAGS in School Psychology. Patti is a licensed School Psychologist and Pupil Services Director. She has over 12 years of professional experience in the field of school psychology and education and has worked extensively in public and private school settings.
Joe Mageary, PhD, LMHC, CCMHC Dean of Clinical Services
Joe has been with New England Academy since the 2008-09 school year, first as a clinician and now as the Director of Clinical Services. Joe earned a Ph.D. in Transformative Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies and holds an M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (Lesley University) and B.S. in Psychology (Fitchburg State College). He is licensed by the state of Massachusetts as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and nationally as a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor. He also holds School Adjustment Counselor and Administrator licenses through the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Joe has previous experience with the Upward Bound program and the Barton Center for Children with Diabetes. Prior to joining the team at New England Academy, Joe was the Director of Emergency Services at The Edinburg Center.
Sharon Hurley, PsyD, NCSP Dean of Curriculum and Instruction
Sharon has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is also a licensed school psychologist. She spent six years working in public schools before joining the team at New England Academy in 2010. Her previous experience also includes assessment and treatment of children and adolescents in both inpatient and outpatient hospital settings.
Elyssa Bristol, Psy.D. Clinical Psychologist
Elyssa is a licensed psychologist who earned her Psy.D. from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology with a concentration in Childhood, Adolescent, and Family practice. Prior to joining NEA, Elyssa completed a 2 year post-doctoral fellowship at The Trauma Center and Metrowest Behavioral Health Center. Her interests include the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with social/emotional and executive functioning difficulties.
Sarah Burgess, MSW, LICSW School Social Worker
Sarah is a Clinical Social Worker and has spent the bulk of her career at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. She was the Social Worker for the Otolaryngology Department and served on the Cochlear Implant Team for over seven years. While at Tufts Medical Center, Sarah was also the Social Worker on the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and was an active member of the hospital’s Child Protection Team. In addition, Sarah has worked with students in a public elementary school setting in Brookline, MA and with adolescents in a diverse urban setting at a School Based Student Health Center at Boston High School. Sarah holds an MSW from Simmons College Graduate School of Social Work in Boston and a BA in Psychology from University of Colorado in Boulder.
Michael Culp, MT School Counselor
Michael holds both a BA (in Theatre) and a Masters in Teaching from the University of Richmond in Virginia and is currently pursuing additional graduate studies at Lesley University. For almost 15 years, Michael has been teaching and counseling children and adolescents in a wide variety of academic and therapeutic settings. Formerly the Program Coordinator for the Spotlight Program in Danvers, Michael joined New England Academy full time as a Counselor in 2008. With an extensive background in theatre and film, Michael also teaches a number of the schools enrichment courses integrating social pragmatics and an improvisational theatre curriculum. In addition to his work with students for individual counseling, Michael also leads the school’s film based extracurricular/enrichment groups.
Jamie Goudreau, M.A., LMHC School Counselor
Jamie received her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University and is a licensed School Guidance and School Adjustment Counselor. She has many years of experience working in the school environment in this capacity as well as in clinical settings, residential treatment facilities for teenage girls and residential programs for teenagers with Autism. Jamie facilitates a variety of enrichments such as Mindfulness and Meditation and Women’s Studies.
Jacky Hart, M.S., CCC-SLP Speech Language Pathologist
Jacky completed her clinical training at MGH Institute of Health Professions where she received her Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology. She is also a certified Reading Specialist and has worked in a variety of clinical and school settings. Jacky specializes in supporting students’ executive functioning, learning and social pragmatic needs.
Nicole Langbaum, M.A., LMHC School Counselor
Nicole is licensed in the state of Massachusetts as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and School Adjustment Counselor. She received her Masters from Lesley University in Expressive Therapies, with a Mental Health Counseling specialization. Nicole received her Bachelor of Arts from Duke University in Public Policy. She has been with New England Academy since the 2009-10 school year and has been working with youth and families for almost fifteen years. With a specialty in Expressive Therapies, Nicole focuses on integrating the arts into therapy.
Erin Murphy M.A., LMHC, MT-BC School Counselor
Erin Murphy is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of Massachusetts. She received her Masters in Expressive Therapies, with a Mental Health Counseling specialization from Lesley University. Erin is a board-certified music therapist, and has participated on the Massachusetts Music Therapy Alliance board since June 2010. Erin focuses on integrating music and creativity into the therapeutic process.
Jackie Thompson, MSW, LICSW School Social Worker
Jackie received her Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Boston College, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Health Care Administration from Stonehill College. She is licensed by the state of Massachusetts as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and a School Adjustment Counselor. Jackie has over ten years of clinical experience, and an expertise in child and adolescent mental health. Prior to joining the team at New England Academy, Jackie’s experience included working with children in the special education environment, outpatient mental health, and private practice setting.
Susan Warner, MSW, LICSW School Social Worker
Susan has been working within clinical and school settings for over ten years. As a school-based social worker and community based therapist, she has a high level of expertise working with students with social and emotional disabilities. Prior to her school based experience, Susan worked extensively in residential treatment facilities and Early Intervention programs. She has completed post graduate studies and is certified in Child and Adolescent Treatment through Boston University. Susan is a Massachusetts Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker.
Julie Weieneth, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist
Julie is a licensed clinical psychologist. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a child and family concentration from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has gained experience in both inpatient and outpatient treatment settings for adults, children, and families, as well as specialized diagnostic assessment through her internship training at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center/Worcester State Hospital. Julie also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Developmental Medicine Center at Children’s Hospital Boston. Prior to joining the NEA team, she worked as a staff psychologist at a therapeutic day school in Boston.
Amanda Riley, MSN, FNP-BC School Nurse
Amanda began her nursing career working at Massachusetts General Hospital, inpatient pediatrics and as a Pediatric Clinical Nursing Instructor. After completing her Nurse Practitioner degree, Amanda worked in private practice before joining New England Academy. Amanda received her B.S. and Masters in Nursing from Northeastern University and is a Massachusetts licensed Registered Nurse and Family Nurse Practitioner.
Lisa Abramowski, M.A. English
Lisa has a Bachelor’s degree from Gordon College with a major in English, Language and Literature and a Master’s degree in English from Salem State University. She was nominated for the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges for her work in the classroom and with community agencies and spent time teaching in public schools before joining New England Academy.
Abigail Adams, M.Ed. French
Abigail received her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Gordon College. She also completed academic studies at L’Institut d’Etudes Francaises pour Etudiants Etrangers. Abigail taught French in public school prior to joining NEA. She is a licensed French teacher for grades 5-12.
Katie Anderson, M.A. English
Katie has been with New England Academy since its inception and before that she taught at a North Shore public high school. Katie’s specialty is in English, although her passion and experience with special education students is what brought her to New England Academy. Previously, Katie has worked as a counselor for the “Spotlight” Program with students on the autism spectrum. Katie is a licensed English and Special Education teacher and has a Master’s degree in English from Salem State University
Brian Boulger, M.Ed. Science
Although Brian’s specialty is science, he has been teaching all core subjects for the past ten years in a variety of private school settings. Most recently he worked as an educational administrator. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Science and Education from the University of Vermont and a Masters of Science in Educational Leadership and Policy Study from the University of Memphis. Brian is licensed as a General Education and Special Education Teacher as well as a Vice-Principal and Special Education Administrator.
Christine O’Hara, M.Ed. Writing/Tutorial
Christine began her teaching career working in large public schools as a middle school English and History teacher in inner city Lawrence. Christine has a variety of teaching experiences in working with diverse populations of students and families. Christine has a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Endicott College.
Wes Chittick, M.Ed. History Teacher
Wes is a graduate of Gordon College where he majored in History and Secondary Education and has a Master’s degree in Special Education from Endicott College. Wes taught at Masconomet Regional High School before coming to New England Academy and is an area lacrosse coach.
Stanley Eaton, MAT Science Teacher
Stanley is known as the “Science Master”, as he has held his teaching license in almost every area of science including General Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Stanley taught for seven years in public schools before joining the NEA staff. He has a passion for teaching students with different learning styles. Stanley has a Bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College and Master of Arts in Teaching from Marshall University and is licensed in Biology and General Science.
John Gehan, M.Ed. Tutorial
John is a special educator with more than ten years of teaching experience. He has a Master’s degree in Experiential Learning from Endicott College. John’s strength is in organization and study skills and he is very creative in helping students understand challenging concepts.
Jonathan Griffiths, M.Ed. Math
Jonathan is a graduate of Salve Regina University with a B.A. in Elementary and Special Education and a M.Ed. degree as a Mathematics Specialist. Prior to working at New England Academy, Jonathan also taught Special Education at the elementary and middle school levels. Jonathan is a licensed Special Education and Math Specialist teacher
Mike Lane, M.Ed. Math
Mike is a graduate of Gordon College with a B.A. in Secondary Education and History, and a M.Ed. in Special Education. Prior to working at New England Academy, Mike also taught general Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis. His true passion is helping students to learn to use their strengths to succeed in any class or activity. Mike is a licensed Secondary and Special Education teacher, grades 5-12.
Angela Langlais, M.A. Science
Angela began her teaching career working with inner city students in Lawrence Massachusetts. She has experience teaching science, as well as reading and math intervention classes, and experience as a high school tennis coach. Angela earned a B.S. in Elementary Education and Biology and has a Master’s degree from Gordon College.
Kate Perry, M.S. English
Kate is a veteran public school special education teacher, having taught for four in the Quincy public schools as a resource room teacher. Kate earned her Master’s degree in Education from the State University of New York and her bachelor’s in Sociology, with a minor in Education, from Hobart and William Smith College. She is a licensed General and Special Education Teacher.
Nicolas Prandi, M.Ed. Spanish Teacher
Nico is a native Spanish speaker from Argentina. He graduated from Gordon College with a Secondary Education and Spanish degree, as well as English as a Second Language concentration. He has a Master’s Degree from Endicott College. Before coming to NEA, he spent time teaching in both a suburban middle school setting in Danvers and an inner city high school setting in Lynn.
Sarah Rouba, M.Ed. History
Sarah, a native Australian, graduated from Newcastle University and has taught both internationally and in the U.S for the past ten years. Experienced in all levels, pre-k through 10th grade, Sarah is a licensed Elementary, K-8 teacher and Special Education teacher who completed her Master’s degree in Special Education at Endicott College.
Greg Twombly, M.Ed, Ed.S. History
Greg spent the beginning of his teaching career in public schools working in the area of special education, as well as coaching high school sports. Greg has a B.A.S. in History and Secondary Education from Salve Regina University as well as a Master’s degree in Special Education from Endicott College. He is licensed in both History and Special Education.
Thomas Walsh, M.Ed. Mathematics
Tom graduated from Trinity College with a major in Mathematics and Religion. He has been working with high school students for many years as a Track and Cross Country coach. Tom graduated from Endicott College with a Masters degree in Special Needs Education. He is a licensed Mathematics and Special Education teacher.
Adam Peroni, MAT Writing Teacher
Adam began his teaching career at New England Academy after completing his Master of Arts in English. Prior to entering into the field of teaching, Adam was a copy editor, creative designer and writing tutor. Adam earned a B.A. in English from the University of Indiana – Bloomington and a Masters of Arts in Teaching English/English Literature from Salem State University. He is a licensed English Teacher.